Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Heartbeat of Africa- An Ad Gone Bad!

A pitiful spectacle of Nigerian mediocrity is being displayed to the whole world via the CNN cable service. In the quest to promote the nation, a seriously gaudy advertisement resulted, inadvertently. The promo is hilarious and painfully bad. This theatrical portrayal of Nigeria opens with “President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a husky voice saying- "Welcome to Nigeria, the Heartbeat of Africa".

Many have written about it. Aderemi's Notebook, a blog authored by a Nigerian writes:
“Has anyone else seen this ad featuring Obasanjo on CNN? It is supposed to promote the tourism industry in Nigeria. I have not seen it but reviews particularly from local newspapers in Nigeria are pleading that the ad be stopped. Due to low quality I hear (it seems I can do better), even the fruits and vegetables are off-putting. Perhaps a few jobless actors/models should have been hired rather than the president for the ad shoot - every little helps.”
Uche Nworah at questions the use of the name-“Heart of Africa” asking “Does Nigeria lie in the heart of Africa”? He would have preferred “Giant of Africa”…stating “leveraging on Nigeria’s age - old and self styled Giant of Africa adulation may even be more effective and desirable, although such chest-thumping claims may no longer be realistic in today’s Africa, where South Africa has taken over the economic leadership of the continent, but still Nigeria can easily put together a long list of firsts and attributes, that will at least justify to some extent its claim of being the Giant of Africa.”

Perhaps the most caustic and “straight-up”remark is from Angel Walker who focuses her article on the governors of Zamfara, Delta and Enugu states. Here are some excerpts:

“Zamfara advertises its progressiveness(!!!) whilst meting out death sentences for female adulterers only ( we ALL know that men NEVER commit adultery and women do it all alone!!!); Delta parades a string on chiefs who have difficulty reading from the teleprompter and who talk of peace in the face of the exact opposite, and the Enugu governor who is supposed to have been a doctor in the USA, speaks so terribly that I am sure no patient in the USA put their lives in his hands for a minute.”
She adds:
“The whole world laughs at the lies screened while CNN sings to the bank f or each 30 second segment costing over $120,000 a pop! Meanwhile, roads in each state have become gullies, the police and the armed robbers cooperate and steady power and water are remembered by only those who were alive under the colonial masters!
Ms Walker is an American, and so one would appreciate the implications of this statement:
“May I appeal to these three governors and any others about to join the bandwagon to cease and desist. Instead of wasting money on self-glorification under the guise of wooing foreign investors, they should use the money to provide the most basic of needs - clean water for their citizens. No foreign investor in their right mind will come to your states to do business.

“The comments of the EU visitors to Enugu should be seen in context. Enugu is apparently called 'the best governed state in Nigeria'. All well and good. But if you read it properly, you would understand that it is akin to saying that in a sewer with many chambers, the chamber called Enugu has less sewage than the other chambers. It is still not a desirable place to visit! Besides all this, just HOW would any investor reach the said states after landing in Lagos or Abuja? By Sosoliso, Chanchangi or Bellview? One shudders at the mere thought.”
Angel couldn’t have stated the fact any better. One wonders what drugs the originators and managers of this project used? They are clearly out of their minds, it seems. This project was meant to be an “image booster” but it appears the idea somersaulted and turned into an “image crusher”!

The heart has definitely stopped beating in this ad and should be yanked off the air.